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  • Writer's pictureRuby Deubry

Why Nutritional Psychiatry Cares About The Brain-Gut Connection

"The Road To Health Is Paved With Good Intestines."

You might hear this a lot but the brain-gut connection is more than a quip! Those feelings you get – you know the ones: butterflies and gut-instincts – are the gut communicating to the brain that something is up.

Think about this: Gut Distress <-----> Strong Emotion

The Enteric Nervous System (ENS) is the gut’s very own brain, which is why it is called the body’s 'second brain'. It controls all parts of digestion, including nutrient absorption. The ENS not only controls GI behavior independently of the Central Nervous System (CNS), research shows that the GI system may send signals to the CNS that triggers mood changes. [1]

Powerful, right?

New research suggests that a higher number of people with bowel issues develop depression and anxiety. These issues and more are the basis of Nutritional Psychiatry – an emerging field that studies how diet and nutrient-based supplementation can be used for the treatment and prevention of mental disorders. [2]

Good to know that Nutritional Psychiatry is gaining traction considering around 40% of people struggle with digestive health issues! [3]

The next time you are feeling stressed, do not forget to examine what is going on with your gut. You may be lacking in Omega-3s, B-vitamins, Zinc or another important nutrient involved in brain health!


  1. Rao, M and Gershon, M. The bowel and beyond: the enteric nervous system in neurological disorders. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Sep; 13(9): 517–528.

  2. Dixon, E. Exploring the Rise in Nutritional Psychiatry. Accessed August 10, 2020 from

  3. John Hopkins Medicine. The Brain-Gut Connection. Accessed August 10, 2020 from

  4. Sathyanarayana Rao, T. S., Asha, M. R., Ramesh, B. N., and Jagannatha Rao, K.S. Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. Indian J Psychiatry. 2008 Apr-Jun; 50(2): 77–82.

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